Application Spotlight: Making Learning Fun

Customer: Fund for Educational Excellence

Production Shop: Signs By Tomorrow Alexandria

Flight Date: August 2014 to present

Project: Give a welcoming and imaginative space to low income Baltimore City schools and create a safe environment for students to learn, explore, and use their imagination.


The Fund for Excellence was looking to create a safe, welcoming, and imaginative space for students in low-income Baltimore City schools to learn, explore, and use their imagination. They turned to Signs By Tomorrow Alexandria to help bring this project to life.

“The concept was a collaboration of Dan Proctor of Kirk Designs, Anna Castro Architects, Wesley Stuckey of Stuckey Designs, and me,” said Dave Gimbel, owner, Signs By Tomorrow Alexandria. “The idea began with brainstorming with the client and several rounds of concepts. There is a recurring theme in all of the libraries, however each space is different.”

The preliminary approvals were handled by Kirk Designs and were handed off to Signs By Tomorrow after the drywall was roughed in. At that time, Signs By Tomorrow took accurate measurements and tested the primed walls for the proper vinyl and laminate. As a caveat, it was agreed to a minimum 10-day cure period for the primer for best adhesion.

According to Gimbel, Signs by Tomorrow Alexandria had about four months total for the demo to the finishing work. Collaborating with the graphic designer, Signs By tomorrow worked to create the finished product for the spaces. It took four days to print the permanent graphics on 61-inch Mimaki JV33 on 3M Ij 40 vinyl with matte laminate. Installation took two days.

Signs By Tomorrow Alexandria has installed five libraries to date. There will be a total of 30 over the next five years.

Gimbel and his wife, Jacki, bought the franchise in 2002. “We were both printing sales reps working for the same company. After 9/11 we noticed that the industry was slowing down and high end printing was becoming a commodity. At that time we decided it would be best to diversify and the franchise opportunity arose. Since we had a vast knowledge of the printing process it was a logical choice to move into the growing sign industry,” said Gimbel. “Jacki started the business while I worked both jobs to have an income coming in. After two years, the center was performing well enough to begin supporting us. In the 12 years we have grown the business by 400 percent and looking for future growth.”